Before delving into the topic of our next webinar, let’s check we really understand what ‘horizontal’ activities really are.
You know, in the past 15 years I must have taught this topic about a thousand times, and despite being something that you can find in all projects no matter the field, it is indeed something that can cause some confusion if not addressed properly from proposal stage.
So, when can an activity be called ‘horizontal’?
Horizontal activities are those which should be planned and reported in any project within the Horizon H2020 work programme for Research and Innovation. Whether you deal with a project related to gender, marine pollution or space startups, you’ll always have to plan your horizontal activities accordingly. Those are planned at proposal stage, but will stay with you until the project’s official closure and beyond.
On Friday (6th March 2020), we’ll shed some light on the exploitation and dissemination of the project results and what to do when reporting those activities on the EU portal.
Communication, dissemination and exploitation, and the costs related to them, are terms that sometimes can cause confusion. They are all strongly interrelated as you first need to reach your audience through a strategic plan of set activities (communication), then make sure that your specific target audience makes use of the results you have achieved (dissemination) and then you will have to take into consideration how the results of your project can be effectively used in the future even after the project ended. Perhaps, in order to better communicate your project, you may need to buy specific equipment, to exploit your project results, you want to register a patent. Together, we’ll see whether such cost is eligible and how it could be reported.
Other direct costs vs subcontracting
You’re drafting a proposal and when you get to the communication work package you start imagining a very attractive and appealing graphically designed video that will surely boost your project online presence and, why not, let’s also add a nice voice over. You ask your partners to see who could take up this effort, and no-one seems to be able to do such thing.
What comes to your mind now? Asking for service offers or outsource the task! You start looking around, ask for some offers and may then include in your proposal a specific budget for what? Other direct costs or subcontracting? When you subcontract you lose the overhead, so you will try to avoid it, right? Depending on the real need of the project, what you could do instead is make use of the other direct costs budget line and report those costs as such.
How to report communication activities on the EU portal?
Despite looking plain and innocent, the Communication and Dissemination section on the EU portal has led many people to confusion. It is open to multiple interpretations, and when confronted with this table people are usually unsure as to what is the best way to fill it out.
For instance, you’ll find there is a dedicated space for your social media numbers. But, hold on a second... What numbers should you take into consideration? The number of channels all of your partners have and have used to communicate the project? Or perhaps even the number of posts that the whole consortia has written about project-related activities? Or likes, shares, overall followers…? The choice is infinite, but you need to make a choice.
After making this tough decision, that same section on the portal asks you to add the numbers of people who have been reached by the project according to the role (e.g. scientific community, industry, policy makers, etc).
And last but not least, let’s not forget to add the EU emblem on specific material, otherwise those costs won’t be considered eligible.
All the above will be discussed together with some practical examples at the webinar on 6th March, so don’t leave any questions unanswered and join us!